Reason for optimism with Tim Lincecum?

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The Giants continue to exhibit patience with Tim Lincecum, despite his season-long struggles. While he still owns a 6.07 ERA and remains winless since April 28, he at least showed some signs of turning things around last night against the Athletics.

Lincecum was on the ropes in the first inning, giving up three runs on three singles and two walks before recording an out. Things could have been much worse, but he struck out Brandon Moss, Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington (all swinging strikeouts) with the bases loaded to escape.

It didn’t look like Lincecum would last very long after throwing 44 pitches in the first inning, but he was efficient and effective the rest of the way, holding the A’s hitless over his final five innings of work while issuing two walks. He ended up allowing three runs over six innings for just his second “quality start” of the season and his first since May 30. The eight strikeouts tied a season-high. Despite being in a early three-run hole, the Giants came back to win the game 5-4.

CSNBayArea.com has the video of Lincecum’s post-game comments, where he expressed optimism about his ability to build off of his strong performance following the first inning jam.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves